Archive for August, 2015

What Our Towns Pay: Only one woman ranks among the top 100 in pay

Posted in In the News, Women in PA on August 20th, 2015 by admin – Be the first to comment

By Liam Migdail-Smith  

All but one of the 100 local municipal employees who earned six figures in 2014 were men. Reading Managing Director Carole Snyder was the only woman to make the top 100. 

“I’m not surprised by that because it reflects what goes on in the corporate world too,” said Jennie Sweet-Cushman, assistant director of the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics at Chatham University.


The trend is that women hold most middle-management positions but are under-represented in top jobs, she said. Having more women at the helm in public administration adds a different perspective.


“If you’re dealing with community decisions you think in terms of: How does this accommodate women with young children? How does this accommodate people caring for elderly relatives?” Sweet-Cushman said.


Contributing to the gap locally: 90 of the top 100 municipal earners worked for police departments.


A 2014 survey by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics found that nationally, women make up only 12.4 of patrol officers, 15.9 percent of supervising officers and 21 percent of criminal investigators.


Nationally, there has been a focus on the gender skew in police forces as advocates look to close the pay gap between men and women.


A 2012 report by the White House’s Equal Pay Task Force identified occupational segregation — a system of “men’s jobs” that pay more than “women’s jobs” — as a major driver of pay differences.

Last year, the U.S. Department of Justice sued the Pennsylvania State Police, alleging its fitness test is skewed in favor of male applicants. The state is fighting the suit, saying its test is not biased and that the claims are based on faulty logic.

Research by the National Center for Women & Policing, which advocates for more women in law enforcement, found that gender-biased recruiting and hiring practices contribute to the underrepresentation of women. Efforts to recruit women often are stymied by harassment or discrimination female officers can face, the group says.


Kane scandal casts cloud on other female politicians:’It’s such a blow to women’

Posted in In the News, Women in PA on August 20th, 2015 by admin – Be the first to comment

The criminal charges against Kathleen Kane are unlikely to stall the success of other women candidates, but it does hurt, politicians say.

“I hate to see public officials do things that violate the public trust because it looks bad for everyone. Bonusgate affected all of us, even though it was all men. We were all affected equally,” said Bev Mackereth, a former House Republican from York County and previous Department of Human Services secretary.

She is now a senior government affairs specialist for the Ridge Policy Group.

Sen. Pat Vance, R-Cumberland, is hoping Mackereth is right and Kane’s crisis doesn’t specifically reflect poorly on women.

“I felt very badly when she was charged, even though we’re not in the same political party, because it’s such a blow to women,” she said.

While Vance, who has held elected office for nearly 40 years, said the quality of a candidate matters more than gender, she agreed that men in politics often are viewed differently than women.

“Maybe because there are so few of us,” Vance said.

“There are a lot of very good people in public service. Unfortunately, the good ones don’t always make headlines,” she added.

If there’s an unfair spotlight on women in politics, it could be because there are so few women in politics – especially in Pennsylvania, according to Dana Brown, executive director at the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics.

The state has never sent a woman to represent Pennsylvania in the U.S. Senate, and there are no women among the 20 people who represent the state in the congressional delegation.

Just 45 women sit among the 253 elected officials in the state Legislature, though 52 percent of the voters are women.

The state has never elected a woman governor, and the late Catherine Baker Knollwas the only woman to serve as lieutenant governor.

Kane is the only woman who holds a statewide elected office, other than judges.

For the Pennsylvania attorney general to rebound from this political scandal, she has to first avoid conviction, said Kelly Dittmar, a scholar at the Center for American Women and Politics and assistant professor of political science at Rutgers University – Camden.

“Politics is still a man’s world. Breaking through is not easy for women, especially when a scandal hurts a woman’s stereotypical advantage,” she said.

That advantage is trust and integrity. Women candidates are assumed to be more trustworthy than men, and voters think twice when that trust is broken.

Research shows ethics and likability matter more for women than men, according to Dittmar.



Many believe Elsie Hillman’s impact on the community will be long lasting

Posted in In the News on August 12th, 2015 by admin – Be the first to comment

Fond remembrances of social and political activist Elsie Hillman continued to be expressed Wednesday, a day after her passing at age 89, with many voicing their belief that her impact on the community will be long-lasting.

Of particular note were the many people who recounted stories of how Mrs. Hillman — despite the wealth and influence she shared with her husband, Henry — stood with those in need.

Sometimes, she sat with them.

George Fechter of Mount Washington was a member of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute Council with Mrs. Hillman. Three years ago, at a large meeting of the State Cancer Coalition, Mr. Fechter said, the executive director expressed disappointment that Mrs. Hillman could not attend.

“I am here,” came a voice from the back of the room.

The director promptly invited Mrs. Hillman to take the seat reserved for her in the front row.

“Elsie responded she wanted to sit in the back with the cancer survivors,” Mr. Fechter said.

“Elsie Hillman was about people and what was fair,” said Esther Bush, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh. “She is known for taking stands that had caused some people to quiver — in support of African-Americans, in support of women, in support of gays and lesbians. If they were people and they were not being treated fairly, Elsie was on their side.”

She always was.

In May 1969, Republican John K. Tabor was running for mayor of Pittsburgh, and the local GOP scheduled a rally at the North Side Elks Club.

The problem was that the club was “whites only,” and the Catholic Interracial Council sent a letter of protest to Mrs. Hillman, chairwoman of the county party. Mrs. Hillman advised Mr. Tabor to instead attend a rally at a cafe on Foreland Street and asked members of the party to convene there.

The leaders’ vote to meet at the Elks Club as planned was 10-0 with two abstentions.

“We’ve been having Republican meetings at the North Side Elks for 30 years, and will continue to hold them there,” said J. Edward Waldron, chairman of the 27th Ward.

Mrs. Hillman caused a stir by making sure the public knew about the issue. She would cause such friction in the community and in her political party again and again.

“You can’t say that she did not care about the repercussions, because Elsie was strategic in everything she did,” Ms. Bush said. “So if Elsie said it, and she knew that it wasn’t going to play out well, she said it that way on purpose because she didn’t want it to play out well. She wanted to ruffle whoever’s feathers she was ruffling.”

Former city Councilman Sala Udin worked with Mrs. Hillman on a number of issues, including the “Save Our Summer” project to keep the city’s swimming pools open in 2004 and a task force formed to address Pittsburgh’s financial plight.

“She was a worker bee, and she kept everybody else working,” Mr. Udin said. “She was easy to work with if you came to work, because she was going to put you to work. If you just came to put your name on the letterhead, then you were going to have a problem with Elsie.”



Obituary: Elsie Hillman, philanthropist and GOP pillar,dies at 89

Posted in In the News on August 12th, 2015 by admin – Be the first to comment

By Dan Majors / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Elsie Hilliard Hillman cared.

Her causes came in all sizes, from underwriting a public ice-skating rink in PPG Plaza to the millions of dollars that she and her husband, the industrialist Henry Hillman, donated to the fight against cancer.

A philanthropist and political activist whose lifetime of civic devotion made her a beloved figure in Western Pennsylvania and beyond, Mrs. Hillman died Tuesday morning of complications of old age at Shadyside Hospital. She was 89.

Once described as “the Grand Duchess of the Pennsylvania Republican Party,” Mrs. Hillman approached politics from the perspective of promoting social causes and was instrumental in the election of centrist politicians on the local, state and national level, her favorite campaign being that of her friend, former President George H.W. Bush.

Mr. Bush, whom Mrs. Hillman helped get elected in 1988, described Mrs. Hillman to the Post-Gazette as “a wonderful gal” and praised her for being “amazingly active in politics and her community” and for being “always concerned about making a contribution.”

Mr. Bush’s wife, Barbara, once described Mrs. Hillman as “a cross between Teddy Roosevelt and Auntie Mame.”

“Elsie Hillman, our dear friend, broke the mold,” Mr. Bush said. “She was full of wisdom, full of energy and full of humor. She was a tireless political activist, and a wonderful, caring human being. I was blessed to have her on my side. Barbara and I loved her.”

As chairwoman of the state GOP and a member of the Republican National Committee from 1978 to 1996, Mrs. Hillman also lent instrumental support to Republican governors William Scranton, Dick Thornburgh and Tom Ridge, senators John Heinz and Arlen Specter, and Vice President Nelson Rockefeller.

Yet her circle of influence was not limited to Republicans. Labor leaders considered her a friend of the working class. She counted longtime Allegheny County Commissioner Tom Foerster and Pittsburgh Mayors Tom Murphy and Sophie Masloff, all Democrats, among her closest friends. Democratic Mayor Joseph Barr, who served from 1959 to 1970, once told Mr. Foerster, “Anytime you need help of any kind, you go see Elsie.”